Strictly Spatial #14

4 May 2016

Welcome to Strictly Spatial 14. I hope you are all enjoying this truly extended summer as much as I am! In this edition of Strictly Spatial we take a look at how GIS is being used to manage both competitors and security during the Boston Marathon. We also look at photographing an iconic 4wd trail, mapping one of Americas favourite cities and we hope that Apples new Maps API does (not) produce some hilarious and frankly bizarre errors.

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This article was published a few weeks ago, but it displays what I think is fantastic about GIS – its interoperability and ability to transcend its apparent boundaries into other disciplines. In 2013 the Boston Marathon was the victim of international terrorism when two bombs went off, killing three and injuring 260 people. Two years later, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency produced the Boston Marathon Dashboard - powered by GIS. This system, which uses ArcGIS Online, covered many aspects of the race management; including security and medical assistance. You can read more about the dashboard here.

I came across this short read and I think it clearly identifies the boundary between free software solutions (Google Maps) and paid software solutions (Esri). It talks about answering the ‘where’ question and compares two scenarios, one where you need complete simplicity (Google Maps) and one where you need more advanced analytical and query abilities (Esri). Have a read and let us know where you’ve encountered a similar scenario and what solution you’ve used.

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Some of you might have heard of the Rubicon Trail, for those that haven’t it is a technical 4wd trail located in the Sierra Nevada, USA. A collaboration between Top Gear USA and NCTech has led to the capture of 360 degree imagery along the trail. This was done using NCTechs’ iSTAR camera. Not all the imagery has been upload yet, but you can check out what has been uploaded to Google Maps here

I would be surprised if anyone reading this has not heard of The Simpsons. For those more avid viewers, you’d know that the cartoon is set in the fictional town of Springfield, somewhere in America.Strictly Spatial 14cThe location of the Simpsons Springfield has always been vague.  Springfield New Zealand does have its own giant donut to pay respect to the long standing cartoon. Some time rich individuals have created a number of WebMaps Springfield, how accurate are they? I’ll leave that up to you. You can see them here. 

Last week I was working on a map in ArcGIS Online which required an imagery basemap with street names overlaid. The process of combining two layers was made incredibly easy by the ability to move the street name layer to the basemap. Now, when using this WebMap in applications like Web AppBuilder, I can ensure that users What I didn’t know was that this is a relatively new addition by Esri, you can see their blog post on the matter here.

There is some speculation floating around that Apple is going to release a public map API. This could turn out to be interesting…. Does anyone remember the catastrophe that was Apple Maps when it was first released?

That’s all for this fortnight. If you see or hear any cool GIS or spatial stories let us know through  Facebook, @InterpretGS (Twitter), LinkedIn or email!